Over the last couple of weeks, the debate surrounding unbreakable encryption has intensified enormously. This all came to be when Apple published an open letter detailing that they had been ordered to assist the FBI in accessing a particular iPhone. Along with reporting the request, the open letter also detailed that they were refusing to comply with the court order, citing if they did comply with the order it would mark a dangerous precedent going forward.
Almost immediately following the refusal from Apple, social media was awash with those who support Apple’s stance on protecting the notion of encryption and those who feel Apple should be helping the FBI in such matters and in any way that they can. While most of the initial support and criticism came from the general public and select known individuals, a number of companies also quickly came out offering their support and voicing their particular positions on the wider encryption debate. A few of the companies who have made headlines over the week due to their voicing of support includes Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, AT&T and many others, including Google.
Following which, the latest on the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI is that today Apple filed a court motion to essentially have the original court order overturned. With Apple again claiming this is not about helping the FBI with one particular smartphone, but is a move which would provide the FBI with a “dangerous power” going forward. If the ‘motion to vacate’ is successful. it will allow Apple to disregard the original request to comply completely. Following that news, reports are now emerging and detailing that over the course of the next week, Google, as well as Microsoft and Facebook are all planning to file their own court motions in defense of Apple’s refusal to help. The details are a little light at the moment on when the exact filing from Google will happen, although, it is expected to be made public within the next week or so. It does also seem likely that the filing will come in the form of an amicus curiae, friend of the court. From the other side of the debate, last week reports emerged that the Senate was discussing introducing a bill which would make refusals to comply a criminal defence.